Working with clients and gaining insight into issues that people are grappling with is a privilege. So are conversations with people who work at the metaphorical coalface, dealing routinely with the stresses and joys of interacting with others.
A recurring observation is the tension between being overwhelmed by the time-consuming demands of work, and stepping back from the busyness of it all to pay attention to personal development. There are so many demands on our time. It is small wonder that it can be hard to step off the treadmill to do something just for us.
I have to admit to being an idealist. My view of the democratising potential of social technologies is unwavering. Anyone who wants to now has the opportunity to use these tools to develop future-focused skills and capabilities. Who needs a business school?
Only if accreditation, the rubber stamp, is important to you. If not, and taking advantage of amazing possibilities of being connected to people and information, the world is your oyster. You can can do it!
Making the time
You can do it but only if you feel like you have the time and energy. This is one of the things that has been niggling at me in designing the 10-week, action-focused learning experiences for anyone wanting to future-proof the skills they will need as workplace and ways of working continue to evolve.
Yes, it’s practical. And yes, it’s customised to you and what you need. But are the people I want to try to reach – mainly people with operational responsibilities – too exhausted?
And then I think about senior people I have interacted and worked with over the years. They are no less exhausted and under pressure but they made a conscious decision to carve out time for themselves.
I used to co-facilitate a network to explore the future of work, where people met about three times a year for a morning or afternoon. Executives from large corporates encouraged us to get dates in the diary early. They saw these meetings as precious time away from the pressures of day-to-day, to enjoy the ideas and energy generated.
Another group that made time for their personal development was senior executives on an innovative post-graduate strategy programme. The thing that was extraordinary about that was the community that developed among these people. It became a focal point for emotional support and learning from each others’ experience.
Connected and networked
In my previous post, I summarised the advantages of the Tiny Triumphs approach to developing skills:
- Small steps = succeed or fail fast, learn, adapt and repeat
- People choose to do something they care about
- Short bursts = opportunity for more frequent recognition and opportunities to celebrate
- Mastery takes time and practice, so go at a pace that suits you
- Community builds as people share and get too know each other
- Facilitators coordinate with a light touch, offering support and resources as needed.
Community is mentioned but the advantages focus on practical actions, in small chunks, through a customisable approach.
Those things remain valuable. Thinking about it though, the real value is in the community. My view has always been that expertise lies with people doing a job – nobody knows the work and organisational context better than those experiencing it.
Communities can be energising. They connect everyone in them to the knowledge and experience that each person has, which sparks off yet more ideas and things to try to make work more satisfying, meaningful and, perhaps, less stressful.
Tiny Triumph in September
Kirsten’s sketched summary, which I really like
Committing three hours a week for 10 weeks to yet another thing that makes demands on your time might seem daunting. It might also be the best investment you ever make, if it restores some of your depleted energy.
Please contact me if you would like more details.